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Consulting and outsourcing company Accenture Plc. (ACN - Analyst Report) has recently won a five-year contract from the Norwegian Directorate of Health. According to the contract, Accenture is supposed to set up Norway’s electronic health record (EHR) system. The new system will be implemented soon and will provide Norwegian medical practitioners and patients a fully integrated and updated record of health information.

According to the terms of this agreement, the Norwegian Directorate of Health, along with Accenture will help in deploying a single, national EHR system which will ultimately help medical professionals to organize and view the medical records of patients across Norway. The database will include information related to demographics, clinical history, physician interactions, diagnostic assessments, medications, procedures and patient interaction.

We are encouraged by Accenture’s recent progress in the healthcare segment, as the new reform measures adopted by the U.S. health department are pushing many healthcare providers toward the electronic health records (EHR) segment.

This should have a positive impact on Accenture in the near to medium term and also generate new business opportunities for the company. Other technology companies, such as Hewlett Packard Company (HPQ - Analyst Report) and Dell Inc. have also realized the potential in this segment and are coming out with their own solutions to tap the opportunity.

Again, the North American market specially provides ample opportunity for growth. Market research firm TechNavio's analysts forecasted that the Electronic Health Record (EHR) market in North America would increase at a CAGR of 7.85% over the period 2011-2015.

Apart from the EHR and consulting business, Accenture witnessed strength in its Outsourcing domain during the third quarter of 2012, which saw the seventh consecutive quarter of double-digit growth. Moreover, the company is also seeing an expansion in the European market as outsourcing deals increased in the region. Outsourcing business is gradually improving, which is expected to continue in the near future.

We are encouraged by the steady flow of new businesses and believe that the trend will continue. However, increasing competition from IBM Corp. (IBM - Analyst Report) and a cautious spending environment may curb its growth prospects to some extent.

 The company has a Zacks #2 Rank, implying a short-term Buy rating.

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